Zuppa Toscana, or Tuscan-style soup, is given more fat and protein in this keto version, and far less carbs from the substitution of cauliflower for traditional potatoes.
Zuppa Toscana Inspiration
Zuppa Toscana seems to have popularized due to The Olive Garden. I’ve seen copycat recipes pop up all over the Internet for years. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love a good Olive Garden salad and breadstick. But I’m able to make far superior dishes at home nowadays, so the need to eat out has diminished. I don’t recall ever ordering this soup, but I’ve tried one of these copycats, and I was hooked.
Kale, sausage, and cream? Yes, please. The traditional recipe calls for white beans, but Olive Garden opted for potatoes. My keto Zuppa Toscana uses cauliflower instead, making it low in carbs. I’ve added bacon as a secondary meat to beef up (no pun intended) the protein, fat, and flavor level. But I’ve kept the recipe otherwise as close to what I could remember from my potato eating days. For my dairy-free or paleo eaters, I’ve included a modification for you.
The soup is hearty, creamy, and perfect for a cool day. It’s the kind of soup that warms you in the winter and goes perfectly with a nice hunk of bread, or in my case, a keto biscuit or roll.
Tips, Tricks, and Take-aways
- The key to a great soup is definitely in the broth. While homemade bone broth is unbelievable, it’s not always realistic for some families. Now that more stores carry it, I do splurge and purchase bone broth instead of chicken stock. You’ll get more protein and much more flavor. Just watch the labels. Not all bone broths are created equal.
- Don’t overlook your cauliflower or kale. I normally give the cauliflower about 20 minutes max, and the kale only gets a few minutes to wilt. Cauliflower will start to disintegrate if you overcook it, so you loose the nice chunks and degrade the texture of the finished soup.
- I always add Parmesan at the end and on top as a garnish. I prefer grated cheese here since it melts better than shaved Parmesan. Or, better idea, save the rind of your old wedge of fresh Parmesan and toss that in the pot for a while; you’ll get a nice flavor.
An easy, one-pot dinner, this hearty soup has a rich savory broth peppered with veggies, bacon, and sausage. Keto or paleo friendly depending on preparation.
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 slices sugar-free uncured bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 lb Italian sausage (mild or hot), crumbled
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 cups chicken bone broth
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups kale, destemmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut cream (if dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (omit if dairy-free)
- Melt butter in a dutch oven or stock pot. Add bacon and cook until crisp.
- Remove bacon with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Keep as much of the drippings as you can in the pot.
- Return the pot to the burner and add the onion. Sautee until translucent.
- Add crumbled sausage and cook until brown.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Do not burn.
- Add bone broth and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cauliflower florets and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add kale. Allow to wilt for 3-5 minutes.
- Return bacon to the soup (reserve a small amount if you'd like a garnish). Add heavy cream or coconut cream, and parmesan (omit if dairy-free). Cook until just heated.
- Adjust salt/pepper as needed. Serve garnished with bacon and extra parmesan.